Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for SIO Research Vessels

Updated: Monday 13 September 2021

Operational Status: Research Vessels

The US Academic Research Fleet resumed seagoing operations on 01 July 2020 following a stand-down that began 17 March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To promote the health and safety of all embarked personnel and shoreside support staff, we have developed an approach guided by UC San Diego's infectious disease experts and epidemiologists, in compliance with local and State requirements, and in accordance with recommendations by the University-National Oceanographic Laboratory System (UNOLS) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Project-specific risk assessment process

Each planned research mission will undergo a risk assessment involving the SIO Marine Superintendent, the vessel Master, and the Chief Scientist.  The process and considerations are described here:

Shipboard preparedness

We have developed protocols for in-port and underway operations for research vessels that

  • Define practices in an effort to minimize the possibility of COVID-19 being spread aboard a ship
  • Describe how to immediately respond to a suspected case of COVID-19 on board.

Our approach includes quarantine or testing requirements for embarking personnel, shipboard disease transmission prevention, infection control, and patient treatment.  These instructions are described here:

Risk awareness

Some underlying health conditions may increase the risk for developing severe illness from COVID-19.  To ensure that people who are considering embarking aboard a research vessel understand this risk, we require that all read, sign and return an acknowledgement to the SIO Marine Superintendent prior to sailing.

COVID-19 VACCINES required effective 06 September 2021

The University of California requires all persons to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before physically accessing University locations (including marine facilities and research vessels). Details of the University's vaccination policy are available at UC San Diego Return To Learn.

FLU shots are required

Consistent with a University of California systemwide executive order (PDF), all members of the UC community must receive a seasonal influenza immunization.  This requirement extends to all scientists, technicians and mariners embarking aboard Scripps-operated research vessels. 

Contact your individual health care provider for availability and instructions on getting immunized to protect yourself from seasonal flu.

Vessel / facility access

  • Only persons conducting essential operational, technical or scientific work may come aboard
  • Vessel access is regulated according to our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan (linked above).

Cruise planning meetings

  • Will be held by teleconference only (not in-person).
  • Requests to visit MarFac and the ships will be considered by the Marine Superintendent based on scientific or operational necessity.

Travel (for UC San Diego employees)

All UC San Diego employees are directed to follow the CDC Guidance before, during and upon return from travel. Read more about UC San Diego's travel policy and guidance on the Return to Learn website.